Photo by Myriam Santos

    Even after Spike Lee directed her music video "Forever Mine" and even after she was nominated for two Grammys, Paradise Hills local Andra Day still manages to keep a humble attitude. She's living proof that local musicians can make it big without having to move to Los Angeles.

    "I'm proud to be from San Diego," says Day, who never misses an opportunity to claim San Diego when she's doing interviews. "I feel like more people need to know about it."

    Day (born Cassandra Batie) had to work hard to get where she's at now. When she wasn't dutifully studying her craft at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts or playing in church or at local coffeehouses, she was posting YouTube covers of Muse and Eminem. From early on she says her voice didn't really fit the mold of contemporary R&B singers, and that she wanted to incorporate elements of musical theater and jazz legends such as Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. Her big break came when Stevie Wonder heard a clip of her performing at a shopping center and recommended she work with producer Adrian Gurvitz, which led to a deal with Warner Bros. Records.

    Her debut album (Cheers to the Fall) went gold and, on the strength of the viral single "Rise Up," she was tapped to play at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Still, Day says her music transcends politics. "I want people to feel inspired and feel encouraged. To be inspired to go for it all the time."

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